Residential and Business Loss Insurance Claims
Get Legal Help Early for Smoother Claims Resolution
Insurance issues after a fire, flood or other type of loss are always easier to resolve with less time, effort, and money if you have help managing the claims and proof of loss process from an experience insurance lawyer. We recommend contacting us as soon as possible after the loss so that we can help you get organized and represent you during the process. Being involved from the beginning means we can maximize the efficiency of the processing of your claim and help you head off potential disputes and conflicts with your insurance company.
What You Need to Know and How a Lawyer can Help
The number one thing to understand about residential and business loss insurance policies is that, as the insured, it is YOUR responsibility to prove your losses. In other words, you should not rely on your insurance company or a contractor in the proof of your claim. It is also up to you to prove that your losses are, in fact, covered by your policy.
Time Limits Matter!
There are strict time limits on informing your insurance company that you have suffered a loss, submitting your claim, and proving your losses. This means you must act quickly when filing a claim.
At Murphy Battista LLP we help policyholders assess their options under their insurance policies and in law. We negotiate and settle insurance claims for both residential and commercial property (business) losses.
When a negotiated settlement is not possible, we will not hesitate to take all the legal steps necessary, including taking the matter forward to trial, to protect your legal rights.
Requirements to Make a Property Insurance Claim
When making an insurance claim, some of the requirements that you must fulfill include:
- Immediately notifying your insurance company of any loss.
- Taking reasonable steps to secure the property from further damage.
- Separating the damaged items from the undamaged items.
- Providing a detailed inventory of all losses including:
- Actual cash value
- Total loss claimed and other details related to the property that has been damaged.
- Providing a sworn proof of loss form to your insurance company within 60 days (or in compliance with the times stipulated in your policy of insurance).
Each of these steps can be slightly different depending on whether you are dealing with a Fire Loss Claim, a Flood or Theft Claim or some other Homeowners Insurance Claim.
What to do if you Have Suffered a Loss
If you have suffered a substantial loss, it is helpful to seek legal counsel. An experienced insurance lawyer can:
- Efficiently take steps to assess your coverage
- Confirm that you meet claims process deadlines
- Gather the evidence required to prove your losses, and
- Calculate the damages to which you are entitled.
If you have just lost your home or have suffered a major disruption to your livelihood, it can be reassuring to have someone knowledgeable about property insurance claims available to deal with the legal issues while you deal with the personal impact of the damage.
How Insurance Lawyers Help You With Insurance Claims
Our lawyers work for you to expedite the claims process and assist you in maximizing the recovery of your loss; whether that is the result of reaching a more satisfactory claim recovery or by helping in the restoration of your residence or business operations.
Our goal is to help you get your life back by relieving you of the stress and emotional burden of dealing with complex matters, including the processing your claim. We will take on the role of settling your claim properly, promptly and efficiently by developing and implementing a comprehensive claim management strategy that is tailored to your specific situation. We handle the legal matters so that you can focus on what’s most important; the needs of your family and rebuilding your business.
Specific Areas Where we Can Help You
As insurance lawyers for policyholders we commonly take the following steps:
- Conduct a comprehensive review of your policy to determine your coverage and any limitations or issues that must be addressed.
- Inspect the loss site and act as your advocate during any future site inspections and meetings with your insurance company.
- Analyze and document the damage to your property and possessions including preparing inventories for all of your personal and business property including:
- machinery and equipment
- betterments and improvements
- Calculate additional living expenses for homeowners.
For business owners, we review your operational and financial records to help you calculate your loss of business income, rental income, and extra expenses
Prepare data and evidence to support your claim including presenting your itemized claim package to your insurance company.
For business owners our services may also include:
- Analyzing industry data to determine what impact the event causing the loss has had on your profits.
- Conducting a comparative analysis of your company’s projected performance to its actual performance before, during, and after the impacted period.
- Evaluating non-loss-related events and conditions that may have affected actual sales during the impacted period.
- Calculating damages solely attributable to the incident or event causing the loss.
- Determining current replacement costs, including:
- Quantifying code upgrade costs (if covered).
- Analyzing construction estimates.
- Make sure you fulfill the requirements of your insurance policy and the claims process.
- Secure expert reports and consulting witnesses where necessary.
- Represent you in negotiations with your insurance company.
- Provide representation in court should that become necessary.
If you are facing the prospect of having to make a substantial insurance claim, contact us for a free consultation before you meet with your insurance adjuster.
If you’ve already had that first meeting with your insurer, don’t worry, we can still help. There is never a downside to getting a free assessment of your situation from experienced insurance lawyers. The information will help you evaluate your options and, if you decide you need help, we are here for you.
Punitive damages in the context of a home insurance claim following a residential fire
May 18, 2022
Case comment on Lambright v. Sonnet Insurance Company, 2022 BCSC 709 In Lambright, Justice Milman considered an award for punitive damages in the context of a home insurance claim following a residential fire. This case highlights the nature of the duty of good faith that insurance companies must fulfill as…Continue Reading
Homeowner’s Insurance – Did You Get What You Paid For?
October 7, 2021
Most homeowners know that they need insurance to protect their most important asset – their home. However, most don’t know all the ins-and-outs of insurance. They rely on their insurance broker to help them with the process. This includes determining what kind of coverage they need and what potential gaps…Continue Reading
Residential and Business Loss Insurance Claims: What You Need to Know and How a Lawyer can Help
July 7, 2021
The number one thing to understand about residential and business loss insurance policies is that, as the insured, it is YOUR responsibility to prove your losses. In other words, you should not rely on your insurance company or a contractor to prove your claim. Further, it is up to you…Continue Reading
Fire Insurance: If Your Tenant Contributes To Insurance, Buy Insurance
September 9, 2014
If a landlord collects contributions to fire insurance from tenants as part of the lease agreement, the expectation is that fire insurance will be purchased. In reasons released last week, Giddings Holdings Ltd. v. High, 2014 BCSC 1658, an unfortunate landlord failed to insure his building despite the lease including a proportionate…Continue Reading
Insurance Disputes: What are household belongings worth?
November 10, 2014
People buy home or tenants insurance so they are covered if the unexpected happens. But even if damage is covered by insurance, will you and your insurance company be able to agree on the value of lost items and the appropriate cost of repairs? Today CBC’s Go Public reported about…Continue Reading
Thank you Brandon Souza for taking the time to understand, to guide and to give me the best possible advice. You are an incredible lawyer who came highly recommended by a family member and who knows his profession well. For those of you who need a lawyer with a back bone to deal with homeowner insurance or any insurance, Brandon Souza will take care of your case with strength, professionalism and integrity. Thank you Brandon!
Brandon Souza, his consultant Jeff Slater, and his assistant Terrin Goodchild did a wonderful job of making sure we were treated fairly during our insurance claim. They were professional, honest, reliable, and a joy to work with. During the claim I went through the initial stages of panic and anxiety, but they calmly walked me through the process and made sure that we came out fully compensated for our loss in the end. They were very sincere and they did their best to make sure that we were taken care of. I have nothing but gratitude for these three from Murphy Battista and I would highly recommend them to anyone who is dealing with a complex insurance claim.